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08 April 2011 @ 08:57 am
We're about to shut down the government because a bunch of people don't want women to have access to birth control.

And Washington is calling "courageous" and "heroic" a man who has looked at the current landscape and decided that the mega-wealthy don't have nearly enough money and the sick and poor are way too alive.

My problem is that I'm a fiscal utilitarian -- I look at these issues and say "how many lives would this lengthen?" "How many lives would this shorten?" If you look at the world through that lens, tax policy is pretty much the single biggest moral issue, because a trillion dollars can lengthen or shorten a LOT of lives. For example, just one of the consequences of a recent $700 billion giveaway to the mega-rich is that we're considering suspending help for 18 million malaria patients (at a tiny fraction of that $700B).

It's a way of looking at politics that only makes sense to me, but one that will actually make you crazy with the horrors -- the same way I imagine it is for people who truly believe that there is no difference between a first-trimester fetus and a two-year-old. For instance, from a simple cost of human quality of life, the Paul Ryan budget is way, WAY more destructive than 9/11.

*Of course, I could be considered a hypocrite (like most anti-choice people who believe there is so much true murder happening but don't physically restrain the murderers), because I have such a focus on the national landscape -- I don't think it is our job to give so much aid equalize the American standard of living with the rest of the world, even though that, done right, would be the best solution for the overall extension and improvement of human life.

Rayt_rabbit on April 18th, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
Though I am, perhaps, predisposed to Utilitarianism from my physics education, I agree measurable harms of our fiscal policy need to be considered. But it seems true of everything, to some extent, be it fiscal policy or law or whatever. Measurable and predictable immediate Good should outweigh uncertain, potential, second-hand good, both of which should outweigh measurable harms. If it's not measurable, it's simple opinion, and should carry the weight of such.

But when has rational policy ever been important in modern politics? Seemingly only when the cameras are off, and often not even then. Ah well.

By the way, I've missed hearing this side of your voice. The above makes me glad I'm still checking LJ every odd fortnight.

Ray (Lee)